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05.27.10

Apple Surpasses Microsoft? So What?

Posted in Apple, Finance, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve Jobs, Apple

Summary: The copycat/copyright marketing machine known as “Apple” need not be commended for a milestone achievement, which is only additional threat to people’s freedom

SEVERAL people have sent us the news about Apple leapfrogging Microsoft in terms of market cap [1, 2]. Is that good news at all? We suspect not. Apple — just like Microsoft — is suing GNU/Linux and trashing people’s freedom, even basic rights.

Well, guess what? Apple is not only the company that copied many ideas from Free software (and infringes on software patents owned by several Linux distributors). Apple is now being accused by the FSF of violating the GPL (official statement available in Arabic and other languages too).

An iPhone port of GNU Go is currently being distributed through Apple’s App Store. However, this distribution is not in compliance with the GNU GPL. The primary problem is that Apple imposes numerous legal restrictions on use and distribution of GNU Go through the iTunes Store Terms of Service, which is forbidden by section 6 of GPLv2. So today we have written to Apple and asked them to come into compliance. We would be happy to see Apple distribute these programs under the GPL’s terms, but unfortunately, it seems much more likely that they’ll simply make the problem go away by removing GNU Go from the App Store.

There are many other Apple violations, but this post is not intended to exhaustively cover them (we have better listing in the Wiki). A reader wrote to us last night about “hypePhone and Sony Death Trap.”

“Conditions in these sweat shops [are] unlivable.”
      –Techrights reader
Our reader continued: “From Daily Rotten [originally here]: “A ninth employee killed himself Tuesday at the Chinese electronics supplier Foxconn, which makes the Apple iPad and Sony Ericsson phones, turning attention to working conditions at the firm’s huge complex… Workers are required to stand at fast-moving assembly lines for eight hours without a break and without talking… The basic starting pay of $130 a month — barely enough to live on — can be augmented to a more respectable $295 only by working 30 hours overtime a week.”

“So, it’s official,” said our reader. “Conditions in these sweat shops [are] unlivable.” See this page about Microsoft’s sweatshops as well.

Speaking of the hypePhone, a new vulnerability has just been found which Linux takes advantage of:

A lost iPhone is a bigger problem than previously thought. Despite encryption the finder can gain easy access to data including photos and audio recordings, even if the owner has set up their iPhone to require a pass code. And, of all things, this is made possible with Linux – the very operating system which Apple regularly cold-shoulders.

Pogson writes:

Apple Insecurity

[...]

Yet another reason to use GNU/Linux, an OS designed by geeks for performance. Carpet bombing self is not performance, Steve.

The title, “Apple Insecurity”, has two possible interpretations. Apple is very afraid that its clients will attain a level of control. They are treated like children and slaves (probably more so than Microsoft’s customers), but the funny thing is that many of them accept it quietly. One day they might wake up only to smell the consequence of their apathy — an apathy that also jeopardizes their neighbours’ freedom.

The goal is NOT to eliminate Microsoft. The goal is to promote software freedom.

For defeatists who believe that Linux fell behind the competition, well… how come it replaces Vista 7 and surpasses hypePhone? [via]

(On Friday, Digitimes [5] quoted an HP Taiwan exec saying the Slate would use WebOS instead of Windows 7.)

Software freedom everywhere is an attainable goal. Let’s not lose sight of it. Let’s play for behaviour, not brand names.

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A Single Comment

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    May 30, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Gravatar

    Already posted a comment on this article, may take some time to show up:
    http://pogson.6k.ca/2010/05/25/apple-insecurity/

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